Toyota shows off a concept car at the 16th Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macau Auto Fair in Shenzhen in June. (File photo/Xinhua)
Toyota has announced a change to its brand name in China from "Toyota China" to "China Toyota" in a bid to save its plunging sales in the country, reports Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
Sales of all Japanese car brands in China have reporting a more than 50% decrease due to an outpouring of anti-Japanese sentiment after Japan's government nationalized disputed islands in the East China Sea also claimed by China and Taiwan in September.
Tian Congming, administrative assistant general manager of FAW Toyota Motor, Toyota's joint venture with its Chinese partner FAW Group, said the company could definitely have met its sales goal for this year had the controversy over the Diaoyu (Senkaku or Diaoyutai) islands not broken out.
Japanese car brands in China should feel satisfied if they can meet 80% of their sales goals for the year, said Tian, according to which formula Toyota will adjust its original goal to sell 600,000 cars down to 480,000.
FAW Toyota sold only 44,000 cars in China in September and October combined, which should be the peak period for car sales, compared to the 100,000 cars sold during the same period last year, said Tian. Sales of some Japanese marques dropped mby ore than 70% year on year, added Tian.
Whatever incentives dealers offer to boost sales, prospective Chinese customers will be wary of buying Japanese brand cars because they are afraid their cars will be vandalized. In the days following the nationalization of the islands in September, many Japanese brand cars were vandalized and even set on fire. Owners hastily placed notices in their car windows stating their patriotism and imploring demonstrators not to damage their vehicle.
Toyota, as well as many other Japanese manufacturers in China, has determined to ride out the storm, however, knowing that it cannot abandon the massive Chinese market, where the company has launched programs to training local talent and has set up R&D centers.
FAW Toyota 一汽豐田
Tian Congming 田聰明
Zhai Jun is China's deputy minister of foreign affairs. A native of Hebei province, he was born in 1954 and holds a bachelor's degress in British literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University....